4 posts from September 2002

Oldies: Sunday, September 22 - Saturday, September 28, 2002...

Friday, 27 September 2002: Since I won't be around on Friday, I figured I'd post this update a day in advance. I didn't want to intermingle this one with the joke below. Totally different mood so it wouldn't work.

Many of you movie buffs know the difference between Pan-and-Scan and Widescreen versions of movies, right? Have you ever tried to explain to someone who doesn't understand the concept why it is necessary to have the black bars on the top and bottom of a TV screen? Do they just stare at you blankly? Do they, despite all reason and logic, still maintain that "my TV screen should be filled." Well, Lucasfilm put together a handy little page on their website about the differences between the two formats. And they managed to do so in layman's English, no less. They created this page with regard to the upcoming DVD/VHS release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and even posted actual screen captures that illustrate the difference. So, if you ever need help explaining this concept to the clueless hordes, you can send them to this page...


I hope this helps you out in your attempts to bring widescreen movies to the forefront of human consciousness.

Thursday, 26 September 2002: I love a good joke. I know I've heard this one before and I'm sure some of you reading this page may have even received this one from me as a forward sometime in the past. But, I'm pretty sure I've never posted it here before. So here goes...

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington engineering mid term. The answer was so "profound" that the Professor shared it with colleagues, which is why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question:

Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law, (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Teresa Banyan during my Freshman year, "...that it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you", and take in account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then, #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and will not freeze."

The student received the only "A" given.

Wednesday, 25 September 2002: Have you ever had one of those moments where you just couldn't come up with a witty retort to someone else's smart assed comments? Do you wish you had a resource that could provide you with that much needed verbal bitchslap? Well, have I got a website for you. It is called InsultMonger.com and bills itself as the "assassin of hypocrisy." Yes, you too can bone up in advance for that anticipated aural onslaught in such categories as appearance, intelligence, personality, gender, sex, marriage, clebrity, literature, politics, and others. Okay, free P.R. aside, I swear this site has thousands upon thousands of insults as well as how to respond to them. It's great for a laugh... or two... or three...

Tuesday, 24 September 2002: Yeah, I'll admit I'm slipping regarding updating this page. I think the desire to constantly look at and update this page is starting to slip as quickly as the Bears' lead against the Saints this past Sunday. That really isn't saying too much. Once you do something long enough, it tends to get a little dry and outdated. Maybe I'll just get some more photos together. I've got plenty of new ones now since I finally got our backlog of seven rolls of film developed. Aye carumba. When film is sitting around so long that the cannisters start to collect dust, you know something is wrong. Oh well. They're done and now I've got something new to do. It's just tough to motivate myself since I've got class two nights a week and I need to start working on a freelance site for a professor here at AU that needs to be complete by the end of October. I guess I'd better get to work on that one too, eh? Hmm.

Oldies: Sunday, September 15 - Saturday, September 21, 2002...

Friday, 20 September 2002: Oh, c'mon. Don't tell me you didn't see this one coming a mile away. Yes, that's right, another "Darwinism Missed Me" winner today. Sorry, I should say "winners" - plural. It's been a while after all.

This award goes to a man from Alsip, Illinois named William Ligue and his son who, because he is underage, remains unidentified. But, seriously, though, don't you think we have enough information just in his father's name and hometown that we can't find out his son's name? It's not as though he's a Jones or an Anderson. Well, anyway, these two boneheads are the guys that jumped out of the stands at yesterday's White Sox - Royals game at Comiskey Park here in Chicago and attacked Royals' first base coach Tom Gamboa. So far as we can all tell, there was no provocation whatsoever. They just ran on the field and started clubbing the hell out of him. Luckily they were restrained by players when the Royals dugout emptied on to the field. They were both arrested and charged with aggravated battery this morning by Chicago Police. Here's a look at them both...

[photos lost]

Ooohh, isn't daddy tough looking, kids? Look at all those cool tats. I wanna be just like him when I grow up. Seriously, though, doesn't he look like a tool? This was how they both looked when they ran out on the field. They were both topless. Is daddy spitting at the cameraman? Whadda dipshit. And look at the picture of his son. Talk about your Deer-in-Headlight Syndrome. I can just imagine him saying to his dad, "I'm scared, paw, hep me. Dey gonna make me bend over and squeal like a stuck pig ag'in like Uncle Rufus did?"

In a perfect world, the police would've just stood by and let the players have at these two for about half an hour. Then the real fans would get their shots in because these two caused such a delay (albeit an entertaining one) in an already long game. Then, if I were the officers putting these two boneheads in my squad car, I think I'd intentionally forget to lower their heads when seating them. Oh, there is so much fun that could be had with these two. The possiblities are endless...

Thursday, 19 September 2002: I swear I can't catch a break in our Fantasy Football league. First, my star running back Ahman Green of the Packers goes out with a banged up knee. Then, on Monday or Tuesday, the Titans announce that their star running back Eddie George (my #2 guy) is out with foot problems. Granted, both may be back by this weekend, I'm still sweating because I only have one other running back on my team. So, if both wind up gone, I would normally be screwed. Well, my backup back Antowain Smith of the Patriots is now gone as well with other leg problems. He is likely to be back in time, but I'm sweating nonetheless. I had to ditch my reserve tight end Billy Miller so I could fit in one more running back as a backup. So I picked up Rondell Mealey of the Packers who is serving as Green's replacement. Ideally, I will receive a payoff remniscient of last year's replacement of the Colt's Edgerrin James by Dominic Rhodes who wound up being a great back. Wish me luck (and health).

Wednesday, 18 September 2002: Well, I passed my first EMT test tonight. Passed it with a 90%. That's pretty good especially since I need an average of 80% on all the exams to qualify me to tackle the state certification exam in December. We shall see.

Katie's pretty happy lately. She just found out recently that Women's Entertainment (The WE Network) is going to start carrying reruns of two of her favorite shows that have recently gone off the air. Within the next week or two, WE will be airing reruns of Felicity (ideally in episode order) and also Two Guys & A Girl (in order too, hopefully). I can handle the Two Guys reruns and I'm sure I'll get sucked into the Felicity reruns just because of how heavily addicted Katie was to the show. For those of you who are interested, Two Guys & A Girl will air Monday thru Friday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time beginning on September 30. For those of you in other time zones, just figure out when it's airing for yourselves or go to WE's website linked above (hey, I'm in the Central Timezone and, therefore, the world revolves around me). Felicity will play follow up at 6 p.m. also beginning on 9/30. The good thing is that they're not scheduling these shows to compete with any original primetime network offerings which is really smart on WE's part. Check both of these shows out. They were both pretty good shows that really got shafted by scheduling. Two Guys kept getting moved around by ABC who couldn't decide on a permanent home for it while Felicity had some serious Wednesday night competition from the other networks.

Tuesday, 17 September 2002: I sometimes find it amazing what some people consider "collectible." I've read stories about people who have collections ranging from normal stuff like CDs, DVDs, baseball cards, and the like all the way over to such oddities as fingernail clippings from Elvis Presley (those are the true fanatics). Well, get a load of this one... in an attempt to alleviate some of its creditor debt, Enron (do you really need to be reminded what Enron is?) has decided to hold auctions of much of its high-tech equipment including laptop and desktop computers, 50" plasma screen monitors (which retail new for over $7K), etc. But the kicker item in this auction is the big silver "Crooked E" sign that used to sit outside one of its offices in Houston. No, unfortunately we're not talking the big, full-color sign that you always saw in news reports. But, this would be the next best thing, I guess. What do you do with something like that? Is that really something that you'd proudly display in your house? Show it off to your friends? Impress a girl on your first date? That's just weird. But, hey, if you can find a buyer, why the hell not, right?

In other oddly twisted news, Delta Airlines nearly sent an entire family to the grave from shock. You see, a family in Mexico paid $8,000 to have the body of their dead father flown from the U.S. to his birthplace of Apatzingan in the Mexican state of Michoacan. When his body arrived, family members opened the casket only to discover the body of a dead African-American man with a cigar and a picture of the World Trade Center Towers. Apparently, the body of their father went on a brief world tour to Greece and Delta has absolutely no identification of the other body whatsoever. You know what? If I were transporting a dead body, I'd sure as hell like to know who it is. I really think that whoever is in charge over there in Delta should be forced to keep this body in his office until such date that it is identified and can be delivered to its proper destination. That'll learn 'em.

Oh, and yes, I did pick up our copy of Monsters, Inc. this morning on DVD. A must have.

Sunday, 15 September 2002: As happy as I am that the Bears won yet another game, and by one heckuva close score yet again, I just gotta say that I would really love to see the Bears just blow it open early on in the game. Yes, I will admit that the close games make them really fun. But the heart pounding is getting to be a little much. I just wanna see the Bears take a big lead early and keep it throughout the game even if only once this season. C'mon guys. I'm too young for a heart attack.

Oldies: Sunday, September 8 - Saturday, September 14, 2002...

Friday, 13 September 2002: Well, the last couple of days have been fun to say the very least. I tried to login to my website yesterday only to receive an error message saying that the URL could not be found. Any of you who tried to login yesterday or early today probably got the same message, right? Anyway, I figured initially that Geocities (who hosts my site) was just doing some server maintenance. But I was nervous all the same. So I tried to login to my file manager. I got in, but all the data it showed me was completely different than I'm accustomed to seeing. In fact, I was viewing the sort of file manager given to people who have free Geocities accounts. I was pissed. My site had been shut down by the powers that be.

A little history... remember back on July 10th I was griping about my NextCard being canceled right out from under me... no warning whatsoever? Well, I had been using that card to pay for my website. They would just charge me each month for their services (okay, I admit that sounds bad).

Near the end of July, I received an e-mail about my credit card no longer working. However, they never explained how to go about changing my credit card information. There was no way in hell that I was going to just e-mail my credit card number to them when e-mails are notoriously unsecure and easy to hack into. So I e-mailed them asking how to change my info. Then I e-mailed them again a week later. No response to either e-mail.

Around the beginning of August, I received another e-mail with the aforementioned message, but this time there was an ultimatum stating that my site would be shut down. On August 13, with no help from Customer Care, I finally discovered a way to login securely and change my card info, so I did. Then I replied to the e-mail asking if they got my new information and to please respond upon confirmation of my new account info. They never did. Not surprising to anyone who has tried to deal with Geocities Customer Care Center.

Well, I just assumed (incredibly incorrectly) that either my info had been verified or I would have received another warning e-mail. Nope. They just shut down my site. Bastards. So, yesterday, I scoured the Yahoo/Geocities website looking for a phone number to call since I had never received a response to my e-mails. The only phone number I could find was one to the Copyright Department of Yahoo, so I called it. The recorded message I got actually gave me the number for Customer Care, so I called it as well. I finally got a hold of a human being a few minutes later who agreed that I had, in fact, changed my credit card info over a month before and that the shutdown should never have occurred.

She said she would check with a supervisor to find out what needed to happen next and she would call me back sometime last night or early this morning. I never heard back from her. So I called them back and had to explain my situation to another person entirely. He told me that I had to re-register for my site and service entirely. But, he added, that the setup fee would be waived since it was their mistake. Damn right they're waiving it. It's not my fault. So, about an hour after I spoke with him, my site was back up and running. Had a lotta hurdles to leap through, but it's finally done and I should not have this problem again.

On another note, I stopped by Kiss the Sky today (a local independent record store) and purchased a couple of throwback albums -- Extreme II Pornograffitti and Anthrax Attack of the Killer A's (no, not Attack of the Killer B's... A's is a hits album... good collection). God I missed those two bands. It's been a while since I've heard any of their stuff. Not that Anthrax has disappeared, they're still around, just in a totally different incarnation than they were when I used to listen to them. Extreme, on the other hand, is a bit defunct and has been for a while. I wish they'd get back together, though. It's not that Gary Cherone doesn't have time on his hands since leaving Van Halen. Same goes for Nuno Bettencourt whose solo album did worse than bomb.

Wednesday, 11 September 2002: Not that there's any way you could possibly forget what today marks the anniversary of. But, just in case, don't forget to take a moment to remember all the lives that were lost one year ago today to the attacks perpetrated by a bunch of radical, hypocritical, militant, anti-humanitarian, anything-but-truly-Islamic, dreg-of-society terrorists funded by the world's favorite asshole Osama bin Laden. It may take a while my friends, but you will be avenged.

Tuesday, 10 September 2002: So, while many people return home from a long day at work and crash (which is what I prefer to do), what do you think Katie and I did today? We hit the road to head down to Bloomington-Normal and pick up a graphing calculator that she had loaned her brother Scott and now needed back for her calculus class that she started yesterday. And, lord knows, that the drive from Geneva to Normal is anything but exciting. Especially when nighttime is starting to set in and the little to no scenery that can typically be viewed along Rte. 39/51 becomes even less worth looking at. But, to be honest, driving down and picking up the calculator is a helluva lot cheaper than buying a new one for just a single class. Besides, Katie is good company. We talked the entire way down and back. Didn't even bother with the radio.

Now, while we were down there, her brother Scott helped us save $12 by cutting my hair for me. You know me, I like to give props where props are due and they are definitely due here. Scott did a great job on my hair (or what's left of it).

One last thing to point out about the trip... when we got back to Geneva, we were driving behind a car with one of the coolest license plates I've seen in a while. This is one my Uncle would love. The plate read "STE V RAY" as in Stevie Ray Vaughan the legendary blues guitarist who died in a helicopter wreck outside Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin over a decade ago. What are some of the coolest license plates you've seen?

Sunday, 8 September 2002: I will admit that I was sweating there for a bit. I wasn't sure if the Bears could pull it off against the Vikings. But, as has become true to form, safety Mike Brown came through in the clutch allowing the Bears to pull ahead in the last few minutes and triumph 27-23. Would anyone else like to join me in a collective cry of "Mike Brown for President!" Okay, so maybe that is going a little overboard.

Oldies: Sunday, September 1 - Saturday, September 7, 2002...

Friday, 6 September 2002: Okay, first, an apology. To all you people who have been trying to access my Photo Album pages using a modem, I'm sure you're cursing and swearing up a storm at me. The problem was that all my pix were too large and took forever to load up. I'm sorry. I was afraid to cut them down too much for fear that I might compromise being able to see any detail. Well, I found a way to make the file sizes almost less than 1/4 of the original size (in some instances, even smaller than that), but the images are the same dimensional size that they were. Just don't try to enlarge them at all as there will be some severe pixellation. But, so long as you can see enough in the pic to know what's going on and not all my allowed web space is taken up, I am happy.

Oh, and I have finally finished adding the pictures from our wedding ceremony, reception, and several of the studio shots the photographer took as well. Okay, so they're not really "studio" shots, per se. She set up a backdrop and several lights in a back room of the church. Studio was just an easy thing to call them. Better than "shots the photographer took in the back of the church," don't you think? So, check 'em out.

Thursday, 5 September 2002: I know that I've used this page several times in the past to rail against reality TV shows. And I know that what I'm about to say is gonna go against everything I've spouted out. But, I will admit to having developed a bit of a fascination with Fox's "American Idol." I didn't watch it often. I think I really only caught one entire episode and bits and pieces of about five other episodes. Let's just say it was enough to know who my favorites were in the competition. Well, as much as I feel Kelly Clarkson did deserve to win (God knows I was not a fan of Justin Guerrini or however you spell his name), my fave did not get the nod. I would've loved to have seen Nikki McKibbin (Ms. Flamin' Red Hair) win. She had the look and she had the voice and, God, if her rendition of "Black Velvet" wasn't as good as the original by Allanah Myles, then I'm just at a loss. Not that Nikki or Justin have anything to worry about. They'll all be signed to recording contracts very soon just like Tamyra Gray was and she was voted out three weeks ago. All these kids are set for a while. I just hope they don't wind up putting out music that's on a par with N*Sync or Britney Spears.

An open plea to record producers... do not turn these "idols" into teeny boppers. The world already has enough of them to fill several busloads. Busses that I hope to soon see plunge off the side of a cliff into a ravine... burst into flames... horrible, painful death... producers and managers follow suit since they are responsible for creating these monstrosities of music... you get my point.

Tuesday, 3 September 2002: And My Big Fat Greek Wedding has moved up to #2 this weekend. Wow. How can you not be impressed. Yes, I admit that the movie market is highly deflated right now so it's possible for any movie to really creep up there ahead of the big market films. However, what are the odds that it would happen to a film that has been out for nearly five months now? This film deserves it. And, if it keeps up this pace, it could possibly even outdistance Signs this coming weekend and take over at #1. How cool would that be?

Oh yeah, and I've finally started updating Steve's Kicker Zero section of the site. We've got this year's schedule as well as a downloadable stat sheet that you can use to mark in how he does each week. Let me know if you have any problems with the page (it is an Acrobat .pdf file so you will need Acrobat Reader to view and print it).

Sunday, 1 September 2002: I can't say that I'm exactly clear on what all the details are regarding the new labor deal struck between owners and players in Major League Baseball. What I can say is that I (as well as thousands of fans nationwide) am just happy that there was no strike. I was gonna be really disappointed if my picks from the preseason were not allowed to live out my expectations. If you recall, back on April 5, I predicted that some of the better teams in baseball this year would be the St. Louis Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Minnesota Twins. Not that picking the Cards and D-Backs was really going out on a limb, but the Twins... now that's another story. And they've lived up to my expectations. Even though Bud Selig has agreed to no league contraction for at least a few more seasons, the Twins have really been showing up their division and now have one of the best records in the American League and the Major Leagues as a whole. Go Twins!